Amazon Deals

New at Amazon

Saturday, August 31, 2013

80-Year-Old Weightlifter Busted For Doping

The agency that brought down Lance Armstrong announced a two-year suspension for Don Ramos of Colorado Springs, Colo., who tested positive for steroids while attempting to set a world record in his age group at the Pan American Masters Weightlifting Championships in June.

USADA was contracted to test at the event for athletes 35 and older. The suspension means Ramos can't compete again until July 2015.

Organizers of masters events have been cracking down on doping. Two years ago, USADA suspended nine masters athletes for positive tests, including one in his 50s and three in their 60s.

Labor Unions May Get Obamacare Subsidies Intended for the Uninsured

Read the whole thing at Forbes: The issue at hand is the way Obamacare affects multi-employer health plans, also known as Taft-Hartley plans. These plans consist of employer-sponsored health insurance that is arranged between a labor union in a particular industry, such as restaurants, and small employers in that sector. Approximately 20 million workers in the United States are covered under such arrangements.

Workers with employer-sponsored coverage don’t qualify for subsidized coverage on Obamacare’s insurance exchanges. Those subsidies are designed for low-income people who aren’t offered coverage from their employers, and have to shop for insurance on their own. But the labor union leaders want those subsidies to also apply to their members with employer-sponsored coverage, even though they already get those benefits tax-free due to the employer tax exclusion for health insurance.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Here's a tutorial on how to make your own Miley Cyrus costume for Halloween

via Neatorama
Miley Cyrus was apparently going for comedy. In this video, David Correos shows you how you can recreate her look. He looks the part, but needs more practice with the tongue. His went back in mouth occasionally.

Nose Straighteners and Vibrating Nose Contraptions From Japan

Reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition:

Beauty Lift High Nose

Hana Tsun Nose Straightener
From Laughing Squid:  
The Hana Tsun Nose Straightener and the vibrating Beauty Lift High Nose are two contraptions from Japan that claim to be able to improve the shape of your nose. The Hana Tsun Nose Straightener — “hana” means nose in Japanese and “tsun” means to perk or stick up, according to Japan Trend Shop — claims that it will “help balance and push up the bones and contours of your nose” giving it a sharper, straighter shape after using it for 20 minutes per day. The magenta Beauty Life High Nose aims to firm and shape the nose by applying “gentle electronic vibrations from the bottom, side, and front” for three minutes every day. Previously, we posted about the Face Slimmer Exercise Mouthpiece from Japan.

Friday links

World's Ugliest Dog Contest 2013.

How to Slim Down in Fourteen Days: Advice from 1595.

Medieval & Renaissance Cartographic Sea Monsters.

Unicycle Football is a sport similar to American football played while riding unicycles

Unicycle Football League’s website.

via Daily Picks and Flicks.

New trailer for Thor: The Dark World

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Update on the health of Jim Hoft (AKA Gateway Pundit)

Via one of his guest bloggers: As most of you know, Jim has been in the hospital for almost a week, now. He has been fighting a bacterial infection that is related to a recent artificial knee replacement and complications related to that. Surgeries will follow in the next week, so Jim will be out of commission for a bit longer. Your thoughts and prayers are still needed. And appreciated!!

Thoughts and prayers.

Astronomy headline of the day: Trojan Asteroid Found Orbiting Uranus

One of three discovery images of 2011 QF99 taken from CFHT on 2011 October 24 (2011 QF99 is inside the green circle). This is the first of three images of the same patch of sky, taken one hour apart, that were then compared to find moving light-sources.
Universe Today: What’s new in the outer reaches of our solar system? Try the discovery of a Trojan asteroid orbiting Uranus. While a plethora of puns exist for this simple fact, the reality check is that this means there are far more of these objects out there than astronomers expected. The new Trojan even has a name – 2011 QF99!

Feds Spending $30 Million to Clean State Department

A $29.8 million contract for “Janitorial Services” was awarded to R and R Janitorial, Painting, and Building Services, Inc. for cleaning and maintenance of the main State building, the Harry S. Truman building, and the Blair House in Washington, D.C.

The agreement includes a base year and four option years, and covers a wide array of services for the buildings, including basic janitorial services, snow removal, carpet shampooing, and recycling.

Detailed instructions are provided to the contractor on “insight to cleaning terrazzo floors,” and the types of dusting cloths to use in the State Department.

Under the section “specific directions for housekeeping staff of the diplomatic reception rooms,” the contract states, “Dust hardwood around and under all heavy furniture and their legs with fuzzy extended hand duster.” No feather dusters, or dusters with yellow cloth or strips, can be used, the contract orders.

Zerohedge: 2,400 Year Old Wisdom On The NSA, Edward Snowden, And Gun Control

Nearly 2,400 years ago, Aristotle wrote one of the defining works of political philosophy in a book entitled Politics.
It’s still incredibly relevant today, particularly what he writes about tyranny.
The ancient Greeks used the word ‘turannos’, which referred to an illegitimate ruler who governs without regard for the law or interests of the people, often through violent and coercive means.
Aristotle attacks tyrants mercilessly in his book, and clearly spells out the criteria which make a leader tyrannical. You may recognize a few of them:
  1. Artistotle suggests that a tyrant rises to power by first demonstrating that he is a man of the people:
    “He ought to show himself to his subjects in the light, not of a tyrant, but of a steward and a king.”
    “He should be moderate, not extravagant in his way of life; he should win the notables by companionship, and the multitude by flattery.”
  2. But once in power, a tyrant uses all available means to hold on to power, including spying on his people:
    “A tyrant should also endeavor to know what each of his subjects says or does, and should employ spies . . . and . . . eavesdroppers . . . [T]he fear of informers prevents people from speaking their minds, and if they do, they are more easily found out.”
  3. Furthermore, Aristotle tells us that a tyrant thrives by creating division and conflict– “to sow quarrels among the citizens; friends should be embroiled with friends, the people with the notables [the rich]. . .”
  4. Controlling the economy and stealing the citizens’ wealth is also another mark of a tyrant:
    “Another practice of tyrants is to multiply taxes. . . [and] impoverish his subjects; he thus provides against the maintenance of a guard by the citizen and the people, having to keep hard at work, are prevented from conspiring.”
  5. And as Aristotle points out, a tyrant also attempts to disarm the people such that “his subjects shall be incapable of action” because “they will not attempt to overthrow a tyranny, if they are powerless.”
  6. Naturally, a tyrant “is also fond of making war in order that his subjects may have something to do and be always in want of a leader.”
  7. Aristotle also tells us that tyrants hunt down those who oppose their power:
    “It is characteristic of a tyrant to dislike everyone who has dignity or independence; he wants to be alone in his glory, but anyone who claims a like dignity or asserts his independence encroaches upon his perogative, and is hated by him as an enemy to his power.”
  8. Ultimately, though, Aristotle concludes that “No freeman, if he can escape from [tyranny], will endure such a government.”
    He’s right. And in the past, people had to rise up in the streets to defeat tyranny.
Fortunately, there are many tactics available to freedom-oriented people today that don’t involve violent revolution.
For rational, thinking people who find themselves living in a state that is rapidly sliding into tyranny, one of the most important steps to take is reducing exposure to that government.
If you live, work, bank, invest, own property, run a business, hold your precious metals, store your digital data (email), etc. all in the same place, you are running some serious ‘sovereign risk’.
In many cases, you can move precious metals overseas, set up a foreign bank account, or create an offshore, encrypted email account with a few mouse clicks.
Take a look back at Aristotle’s points. If the majority of them look familiar, it may be time that you look around the world for alternatives.

Degrading the dream

Every mass movement in America, the philosopher Eric Hoffer once wrote, becomes a racket in the end.

And he hadn’t even witnessed the full course of the civil rights movement. If the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington is a time for taking stock, the score is clear. The Dream was a glorious triumph, changing America forever and making it more just. The contemporary civil rights movement, partly as a consequence, is an intellectually exhausted disgrace.

Obama Refused to Send Gas Masks to Syrian Opposition for Over a Year

Read the whole thing at Daily Beast: The Obama administration has refused to send gas masks and other chemical-weapons protection gear to Syrian opposition groups, despite numerous requests dating back more than a year and until the reported chemical-weapons attack that struck the Damascus suburbs August 21.

The residents of the Qaboun neighborhood were forced to make primitive gas masks using household items. (Syrian opposition sources)

Happy 25th Anniversary to The Onion: Area Man Realizes He's Been Reading Fake News For 25 Years

Story today on NPR. Two college students founded the fake news organization, which began as a newspaper in Madison, Wis. "It really started as something very local that was intended mainly to ... sell pizza coupons," says Editor-In-Chief Will Tracy.

Here's the top story on The Onion this morning (read the whole thing):

Syria Conflict Intensifies As Bears Enter War

DAMASCUS—Syria’s ongoing civil war entered a new and dangerous phase today as tens of thousands of bloodthirsty bears reportedly descended on the strife-torn country, charging from city to city on a murderous rampage.

Terrified witnesses confirmed that scores of semi-conscious residents have been dragged from their homes by their necks, torn limb from limb, and had their innards feasted upon by hordes of vicious bears, which appeared to target individuals regardless of whether they supported President Bashar al-Assad or the insurgent opposition.

Rebel and government forces alike say the sudden appearance of bears has significantly worsened the state of turmoil in Syria.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Defense lawyers insist on clients’ right to use NSA records

In the fallout over NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s revelations, one of the unintended consequences is a sudden interest on the part of many defense lawyers across the nation to seek agency records that could help their clients in ordinary criminal cases.

In addition, many more attorneys in drug-trafficking cases nationwide are said to be preparing motions after Reuters revealed on Aug. 5 that the NSA is a partner in a special Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) unit that supplies tips to local law-enforcement authorities. Those tips come from a massive phone-records database that the DEA’s Special Operations Division (SOD) taps, Reuters said.

Previous posts: 

US federal agencies want NSA data to help nab copyright violators

Excellent "Family Feud" answer

Old clip, apparently, but I'd never seen it.

Solar protectivity of beards and moustaches, tested

Read the whole Improbable Research column in The Guardian:

Dr Alfio V Parisi and his team stuck beards and moustaches on some dummies, put them out in the hot, hot sun, and measured what happened. They did this after they had run a related experiment with toupees – a trial which itself was preceded by years of painstaking work with tree leaves, automobile windows, adolescent girls, lawn bowlers and snorkelers.

The researchers concluded that: "Although protection is provided by the facial hair, it is not very high and the presence of facial hair should not be taken as a reason to spend extended periods of time in sunlight."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sorry Ladies: Bobby Riggs Threw His Match Against Billie Jean King

Beacon: It turns out the infamous battle of the sexes—in which the 30-year-old King routed the 55-year-old Bobby Riggs—wasn’t a legit match. Allegedly, the fix was in:
Ragano explained that Riggs “had the first match already in the works … and the second match he knew would follow because of Billie Jean King’s popularity and everything that it would be kind of a slam dunk to get her to play him bragging about beating Margaret Court,” Shaw says Ragano told the men. Shaw also says he heard Ragano mention an unidentified mob man in Chicago who would help engineer the proposed fix. 
“Mr. Ragano was emphatic,” Shaw recalls. “Riggs had assured him that the fix would be in — he would beat Margaret Court and then he would go in the tank” against King, but Riggs pledged he’d “make it appear that it was on the up and up.” … 
Finally, Shaw says, the men asked about Riggs’ price for the fix. “Ragano says, ‘Well, he’s going to [get] peanuts compared to what we’re going to make out of this, so he has asked for his debt to be erased.’” Riggs “has also asked for a certain amount of money to be discussed later to be put in a bank account for him in England,” Ragano told the men, according to Shaw. 
After nearly an hour, the four men stood up, shook hands and agreed they’d move forward with Riggs’ proposal, Shaw says.
via Instapundit.

Police seize painting of Vladimir Putin in a negligee

Police seized a painting of Russia's president and prime minister in women's underwear from a gallery in St Petersburg, saying the satirical display had broken unspecified laws

The painting showed President Vladimir Putin wearing a tight-fitting slip and brushing the hair of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who is wearing knickers and a bra.

Why Do Dogs Bark?

Star Drunk: A Video Written by and Starring Drunk People

According to the director, “Several writers from Portland got together one night to write the script (while drunk). We promised each other that whatever we wrote that night, we’d produce as a short film.”

Compilation of Train Crashes From ‘Thomas & Friends’, with heavy metal background music

via Laughing Squid.

Government agencies are selling personal information

A CBS4 Investigation has uncovered that government agencies at all levels are selling personal information to marketing companies.

Tuesday links

Could I knit a sweater from navel lint?

If you could teleport to a random place of the surface of the Earth, what are the odds that you'll see signs of intelligent life?  (Insert "intelligence" jokes here)

Man blows up house inflating air mattress.

An engineer, mathematician, physicist and computer scientist walk into a restaurant... and discuss splitting the check.

Could I knit a sweater from navel lint?

Dear Cecil:
Could one knit a sweater from human navel lint?
Cecil replies:

Good thinking, Craig. Why waste this valuable resource? And why stop at lint? Think of the environmentally sensitive duds one might make from used dental floss, or the hair fished from bathtub drains.

Still, one does wonder whether lint has what it takes to be a practical textile feedstock. Luckily the navel-lint research community has come through. Of particular note is Georg Steinhauser of the Vienna University of Technology, who in 2009 published a treatise entitled “The Nature of Navel Fluff” in the journal Medical Hypotheses.

Georg ascertained a number of important facts about navel lint, which we’ll review shortly. And what did he get for his trouble? Abuse, that’s what. No sooner had his article hit the streets than the Annals of Improbable Research, which specializes in calling attention to what it considers risible scientific inquiry, published a “special Navel Lint issue,” in which the Steinhauser opus figured prominently. Folks, really now. Getting penicillin out of bread mold sounded pretty ridiculous too.

Back to Georg’s article:
  • He collected an astonishing 503 lint samples over three years and individually weighed them, displaying his results in a mass distribution chart. We learn that the average sample weight was 1.82 milligrams — that is, 1.82 thousandths of a gram.
  • Navel lint, or at any rate Georg’s navel lint, consists of cotton cellulose fibers mixed with skin cells, fat, and sweat.
  • Men produce the most navel lint. Georg hypothesizes that this is because abundant male abdominal hair surrounding the belly button scrapes the lint free from the subject’s cotton clothing and channels it into the navel. When he shaved the area around his belly button, lint production plunged.
  • The total weight of Georg’s collected lint — three years’ worth, mind you — was less than a gram.
Clearly, therefore, collecting sufficient lint to make a sweater would be a slow job. My assistant Una calculated that getting enough for a long-sleeve cotton top, which for some reason she thought was a better benchmark than a sweater, would take 150 years; a cotton sweatshirt would take about 752 years. However, anyone who has time to collect belly button lint is obviously in no hurry, and all that cotton would seem to provide the raw material for spinning thread. Could we do it?

Sadly, the answer is almost certainly not. Most cotton-spinning processes need an average fiber length of at least two-thirds of an inch, much longer than you’d expect to find in navel lint. While you can spin shorter fibers with a lot of effort and some binder, remember the reason navel lint is there in the first place is that it worked loose from whatever you were wearing. If you harvested some of the body’s lengthier fibrous product — for example, nose hairs grown by men of a certain age — there you might have potential sweater material. But navel lint is suitable only for stuffing a pillow, and a pretty small one at that.

Monday, August 26, 2013

2013 Air Guitar World Championships

The purpose of the Air Guitar World Championships is to promote world peace. According to the ideology of the Air Guitar, wars would end and all bad things would disappear, if all the people in the world played the Air Guitar. This is why the whole universe is invited to play the Air Guitar at the end of the competition.

Lots of photos at The Guardian.

In the Batman/Superman movie (Ben Affleck as Batman), Bryan Cranston Is playing Lex Luthor

Bryan Cranston has been cast as Lex Luthor in what is said to be at least a six "appearance" deal (think of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury popping up in every Marvel movie in the run-up to Avengers) and may be as high as ten.
Look for the official announcement to follow the conclusion to the final season of Breaking Bad as WB wants to dovetail off the end of that.
Regarding Ben Affleck, we are told he has allegedly a 13-appearance deal for Batman.

Today is National Dog Day!

Here's the main site, and here are 29 Vintage Photos of Dogs Being Man's Best Friend.

Personal Favorite:

1935: Little Evelyn Luff with her entourage of Saint Bernard dogs at Staines Abbots Pass kennels, near Reigate in Surrey.

Oxford Union resolution: "this House believes that Islam is a religion of peace."

Good post at Powerline: Is Islam a religion of peace?

Lee Rigby was brutally murdered by crazed Islamists in the streets of London this past May 22. In a feat of timing, the Oxford Union Society held a previously scheduled debate the following day on the motion this House believes that Islam is a religion of peace. The motion carried 286 to 168. 

I started thinking back to the infamous debate before the Oxford Union in February 1933.  The motion on that occasion was that this House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country and it carried by a vote of 275 to 153.

Winston Churchill was not amused. In a speech the following week at the 25th anniversary meeting of the Anti-Socialist and Anti-Communist Union, he condemned the vote as an “abject, squalid, shameless avowal” and “a very disquieting and disgusting symptom,” as indeed it was. “We are told we ought not to treat it seriously,” Churchill noted. He disagreed:
My mind turns across the narrow waters of Channel and the North Sea, where great nations stand determined to defend their national glories or national existence with their lives. I think of Germany, with its splendid clear-eyed youths marching forward on all the roads of the Reich singing their ancient songs, demanding to be conscripted into an army; eagerly seeking the most terrible weapons of war; burning to suffer and die for their fatherland. I think of Italy, with her ardent Fascisti, her renowned Chief, and stern sense of national duty. I think of France, anxious, peace-loving, pacifist to the core, but armed to the teeth and determined to survive as a great nation in the world. 
One can almost feel the curl of contempt upon the lips of the manhood of all these people when they read this message sent out by Oxford University in the name of young England.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

One million cockroaches escape Chinese farm

AT LEAST one million cockroaches have escaped a farm in China where they were being bred for use in traditional medicine, a report said.

The cockroaches fled the facility in Dafeng, in the eastern province of Jiangsu, for surrounding cornfields earlier this month after an "unknown perpetrator" destroyed the plastic greenhouse where they were raised, the Modern Express newspaper said.

Disease control authorities have sent five investigators to the area to come up with a plan to stamp out the insects.

NB - I was looking for a cockroach picture to put here and they all creeped me out.  If you want to see cockroaches, go here.

Quote of the Day

I love the freedoms we got in this country, I appreciate your freedom to burn your flag if you want to, but I really appreciate my right to bear arms so I can shoot you if you try to burn mine.

—Johnny Cash

10 Police Cars Chase Moped Going 25 MPH

The Blaze:

Police say an officer initially pulled the man over for driving the wrong way down a street. He spoke with the officer, but allegedly refused to shut off his moped and proceeded to drive away, according to the Journal Gazette.

A chase ensued, with ten police cars pursuing the moped at speeds topping 25 mph.


via Presurfer.

Video: Watch this Louisiana sinkhole swallow a bunch of trees

It took just seconds for a sinkhole to swallow several giant trees in Louisiana's Assumption Parish. The parish's emergency management department caught it on video. (Aug. 22)